Life in First Class Gets Even Cushier

Airlines chasing big spenders with luxurious perks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2011 5:28 PM CST
This Oct. 28 photo shows the new first-class interior section of a United Airlines 747 at San Francisco International Airport.   (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
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(Newser) – It's enough to make a cramped coach passenger cry: US airlines are going after big spenders by making life in first class an ever-more pampered affair. The AP rounds up some of the upgrades: flat-screen TVs, seats that fold into beds, upscale meals served on china, and personal attention that includes phone calls about flight delays and escorts from the airport curb to the front of security lines. (International airlines go even further, with Lufthansa, for instance, providing dedicated immigration officers and chauffeurs.)

"There is a war going on for the profitable passenger," says one industry observer. For good reason: On international flights, first- and business-class passengers account for 8% of travelers but 27% of revenue. A coach passenger might pay $1,000 for a round-trip ticket to China, while a first-class passenger shells out $12,000. To make it worthwhile, US airlines collectively are spending about $2 billion on the amenities, notes AP. (It sure beats this.)

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